When I say Monaghan, what comes to mind? We all take mental pictures and tend to base them on past experiences – positive or negative.  I want to ask you to allow God to either help re-define or add to the definition of Monaghan in your mind and heart. If your experiences with this God-blessed church have been extremely positive (most of you, I’m sure), then the tendency CAN be to live in the past and just think about the “good ol’ days.” If there has been any negative experience (happens in every church of every denomination), then you tend to be convinced that things will never change.  In either case and in both cases, we sell God short.  Listen, God is writing the history of Monaghan Baptist Church . . . in the present!

 Once, we were told not to move to Straubing, Germany in lower Bavaria, because it was a dead end street. There was an attempt to plant a church there in 1957 and it was 1994 – nothing had really grown in all of those years.  There were a handful of believers there, but no real reason to believe things would change . . . except that God began to speak clearly to the hearts of that small group and to mine at the same time.  After we finally moved there (with the reluctant blessings of the IMB and the German Baptist Union), we saw God begin to do a work that no one could have predicted or explained. That church today is a strong, vibrant light in the heart of one of the darkest regions (spiritually speaking) in Germany.  God did it!  He is faithful!

 In similar fashion, we could take an honest look at many churches around West and North Greenville and see how they have declined in the last 20 years – some no longer exist at all. Why should Monaghan be different? I do not pretend to understand the ways of God.  In fact, Isaiah 55:8-9 states,

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

 Well, I do know this without any shadow of doubt – God has given a fresh hope and a fresh vision to a number of people in Monaghan . . . and to me as well.  He also called me away from the most beloved church of my 37 years in ministry for the specific task of being the servant leader, the pastor, of this body of believers called Monaghan and now I am privileged to be a part of what He wants to do here!  That is exciting!  You’ve heard me say it before, but I will say it again – get ready! God is at work!